New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to stay the Centre’s order dismissing Gujarat cadre IPS officer Satish Chandra Verma, who had assisted the CBI in its probe into the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan in Gujarat.
A bench of Justices K.M. Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy declined to interfere with the Delhi High Court’s order, which refused to stay the dismissal order. “Consequently, we are not inclined to stay or interdict the order of dismissal dated 30.08.2022 at this stage,” said the high court, asking the Centre to file a reply in the matter within eight weeks and rejoinder within four weeks thereafter, and scheduled the hearing on January 24 next year.
Verma’s lawyer argued before the apex court that the high court relied on an unproven transcript of an interview downloaded from YouTube and his client does not have any knowledge who made the transcript and the CD. He added that it was the only evidence for which he was dismissed.
The top court was also informed that another officer has been appointed in place of Verma after his dismissal.
It said that now somebody else has been put in charge and it can advance the hearing in the matter in November.
Verma’s counsel said his client has put in 38 years of service and urged the court to extend the stay and let the high court decide.
Justice Joseph said the court needs to balance everything and “you talked about your honour, prestige. But if the truth is on your side, you will have your day in the court”.
He added if justice is on your side, you will succeed. Verma’s counsel replied: “Let me retire with honour.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted that he does not object to the advancement of the date but added that there is another side to the story.
After hearing arguments, the top court said the matter should be listed before the high court on November 22, and asked the court to decide it as early as possible. The top court clarified that it has not expressed anything on the merits of the case.
Verma was dismissed from service on August 30, ahead of his superannuation on September 30. The charges against him include interacting “with public media” when he was chief vigilance officer of the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation, Shillong.
He had probed the 2004 Ishrat Jahan case between April 2010 and October 2011 and on his investigation report, a special investigation team held it was a fake encounter. Verma had moved the apex court after the high court allowed the Home Ministry to take action against him in view of a departmental inquiry, which proved the charges against him.